When I found out Lisa from White and Wander was pregnant for the first time, I was so excited to be able to capture the innocence of a first time mum BEFORE she gave birth.
Here are her answers to our chats, before birth and now, 6 months later.
Before - So far my birthplan consists of the following: This baby will be born… Lol! I would definitely prefer a natural birth, and will try to hold off with meds if possible, but I am not planning to be this die-hard-cool-chick that is going to deny all meds when they are available. Home births without any medication are very standard in The Netherlands (my home country). However, due to some medical challenges in this pregnancy I will definitely not do a homebirth, and it is likely for me to be induced or needing a c-section. I have decided to be ok, with whatever happens. I just want this bub healthy and happy in my arms.
After - I ended up having a planned c section as bub was footling breech. So, I didn’t have to think of meds or no meds or any of that anymore. We did plan for a family friendly c section, however when Benji was born they suspected he had fluid in his lungs and he had to be checked out. I ended up holding him 1.5 hours after his birth. His dad was the lucky one who could hold him those first moments.
Before - I’ve looked at hospital bag lists a few time, but put it in the too-hard-basket every time I start again. However, I’ve slowly started to pack some bits and pieces that I think might be helpful. So far there are a lot of granny undies in there, my IPod with my fave music on it and my chapstick! Can’t deal with dry lips!! Besides that there’s just a lot of comfortable clothes in there. I’ll be living in trackies and leggings for a while I think. When I was born my mum actually went home in a bright red dress, red heels and some lippy. I must be such a disappointment to her, because I’m sure I’ll be rocking Bonds from top to bottom! Oh – and I took the page out of my baby book, where they can stamp the little footprint. No idea if they will do that, but I’ll bring it just in case!
After - I actually did use my ipod [I told her she wouldn't]. I used it and still use it today every night to fall asleep. I found out I need a sound to block some of Benji’s noise, otherwise I’m up every third minute. I’m not listening to music much, but to boring news podcasts. Their talking helps me drift to sleep fairly easy. (might also have to do with the fact I’m so sleep deprived :P)
EPISIOTOMIES AND GROSS STUFF
Before - Ehhmm no, I've never heard of one and now I’m scared and need to google Episiotomy! Edit: OMG I googled it!!! I wish I didn’t!!!!!!
After - Not so much disgusting stuff around birth, as we had a c – section and it’s all very civilised… the most disgusting thing was probably that I could see how they were stitching me up in the reflection of the light above the operation table. I really wasn’t sure if I should watch or not. It was so scary and fascinating at the same time!
HUSBANDS UP THE BUSINESS END
Before - We haven’t discussed these kind of things yet. I kinda feel I’m still in the ignoring stage of the birth-part of this journey! Now I’ve started thinking about it, I feel tempted to say I don’t want him to, but then… I can imagine I couldn’t care less once the moment is there!
After - He wanted to look, but I told him not to as I couldn’t have him faint. I'm sure it’s not a pretty sight to see your wife’s stomach being cut open like that….. He did have a quick glimpse but refused to say much about it!
CELEBRATING POST BIRTH
Before - The champagne bottle is ready to be popped!! Probably only need one sip before feeling drunk! Lol! Oh, and when can you start eating sushi again? I need need need some good salmon sashimi in my body asap! I’m sure our local sushi place think we must have died, or moved to the other side of the world or something! I’m sure I was the sole reason for 50% of their profit and I suddenly disappeared!
After - Ha, I didn’t have the champas until I got home 5 days later. And only really had one sip. The sushi I had that evening - best sushi evverrrr. We went all together as a family a couple of weeks later, and the staff at the restaurant were like, ”aahhhh, that’s why you didn’t come for so long!”
Before - Well…. I have thought about doing them on a daily basis... Does that count? In reality I have probably done them about 10 times by now (at 29 weeks...). I wonder how much I will regret this!! I can kinda feel the effects already when I need to cough now. I can’t even imagine how it will be once bub is out… Actually – I’m going to do some now, before answering the rest of the questions. I’ll be doing them daily from now onwards!! There is still time…. Right?
After - I think I'm one of the very lucky ones that has no issue with my pelvic floor since Benji was born. Maybe it has to do with the fact that he never engaged and didn’t push on it too hard? I’m still doing the exercises… about twice a week… max. One is with Kangatraining, which is an awesome way of exercise with bub in the carrier on you. Love it! The other one is at random times… maybe at the traffic light, or when brushing my teeth. I always think, I should do it every time I’m doing this… and that’s usually where that thought ends.
Before - I'd like bub to be next to us in its own basinet. I think I’d be scared to sleep with him in the same bed. What if I accidentally crush him when sleeping? But then again, I can totally see myself changing my mind if I’m so desparate for some sleep that I’ll do whatever it takes…. This whole sleeping-theme and broken nights, and the extreme state of sleep deprivation is still very theoretical for me. I know it’s a ‘thing’, but I’ve never experienced it, so I have no idea how I will react to it.
After - Eehmmm yes. So this is one where I’ve gone completely the other way than I expected. Benji sleeps in our bed most nights. I’ve only recently started to transition him to his own bed, and when he started waking up every hour instead of twice a night I took him back in. I really didn’t expect to feel so comfortable with him next to me, but I really do. I’ll try again to have him sleep in his own room after we come back from holidays, but it seems a bit of a waste of time and energy to do it now, while he’ll be sleeping with us during the holiday again…(I know, this is most likely an excuse!) The aim is that he’ll be sleeping in his own bed when you ask me again in another six months!
Before - No, there's no way I could eat more than I do now! I am hungry everyday all day!!! I’ve gained 14 KG so far, and bub is currently 1.4KG. Does that mean that the other 90% is hot chips and chocolate?? Still 10 more weeks to go, and if I keep going like this I’ll gain another 10 kg on top of this!
After - Ooohhhh yes, I eat more! Breastfeeding makes you so hungry!! I’m snacking all day long, and with not much time during the day to make some food, lunch isn’t always the healthiest option either. I’m very lucky my hubby makes me breakfast every morning with a green smoothie made with coconut water, kale, spinach and some berries. At least I’m eating some veggies that way. I think half my body is made off hummus. Is there such a thing as after pregnancy cravings? Coz I think I have it!!!
BREASTFEEDING IN PUBLIC
Before - Totally! I’d love to be able to breasfeed! And I really hope I will be able to. And yes- I can’t see a problem doing this, as long as it’s discrete. If anyone has something to say about it, they’d better come prepared! I’m ready to fight!
After - I found the first couple of weeks really, really difficult! Why is something that’s such a natural thing to do, so hard at the same time? I was afraid my milk wouldn’t come in after a c-section. The midwifes laughed at me, showing the blue vains on my breasts and told me not to worry. The next day to milk spurted out every time I heard a baby cry. I still have so much milk that I leak everywhere. There are always dried up drops of milk everywhere on our floor at home, but I guess it’s a good problem to have. I’ve been comfortable feeding anywhere, and haven’t had any nasty comments. These lasts few weeks Benji is starting to get really distracted when drinking in public, and leaves me hanging there quite regularly, so I’ve started to use the parent rooms a bit more often. However if there’s not one nearby, I’ll feed wherever I am. Breastfeeding has been such a lovely experience (after the initial pain!!)I’m sure I’ll miss it!
Before - Ha! YES! I know this from when I was nannying and it was the exact hour when the parents came home from work! A total disaster zone! The thing was – that was about the time I could hand them to their parents and go to my quiet, calm, organised, clean house….Oh boy- I wonder how this is when it’s your own! It might be the time that I have to hand bub over to hubby and crash at the neighbours with a glass of wine.
After - We have been very lucky that Benji has been a very settled baby. I don’t think we have had more than 10 evenings where he has been crying. And most of those nights he was either sick or teething, so we knew why he was unsettled. The worst night we had was only a couple of weeks ago, where he was badly constipated after starting solids, and he was teething at the same time. He only slept 30-40 blocks and was crying most of the night. I had a little cry the next morning too, but somehow, he was his smiley self again. And luckily that smile makes everything worth it!
Before - Nah! And I have a strong opinion about this being a no. I don’t want to create some form of addiction to this dummy. I wonder if you’re all gonna be laughing at me, and are quietly thinking ‘ you just wait lady….’
After - We’ve done it without dummy. I’ve been tempted at times, but then I heard stories of mums who said that their baby woke up every time the dummy fell out, and that seemed much worse than our average night. I’m glad we persisted, and obviously Benji has no idea what he missing, so yay!
Before - I don’t want any ugly plastic toys in the house. Anything that comes in needs to be durable and sustainable. Preferably from a small business. I think I prepped my friends and my family well enough, however they don’t always seem to appreciate my opinion that a baby doesn’t need primary coloured plastic rubbish….So let’s wait and see!
After - I actually didn’t get a single piece of ugly plastic something!!! All friends and family were really on board. We got lots of beautiful handmade timber toys and lovely books. We got enough clothes to dress a daycare centre, but no plastic rubbish! BUT….. (and here it comes….) I bought him is ugly blue plastic ball thingy after he kept stealing it from a fellow baby, and he LOVES it. It’s so ugly, my friend even asked the other day if it’s not a dog toy !! Ouch! Besides that, an occupational therapist told me I had to introduce some colours into his life. So I searched and searched until I found these gorgeous (but plastic and colourful) rattles and activity centre for him. I think they’re still stylish and good quality, so that’s at least something right…..
Before - I will only give my baby home cooked organic food once he is ready for solids. No premade packaged foods….Due to my food allergies, we eat a very healthy diet ourselves, and I am not willing to feed by bub anything less than I’d eat myself.
After - We only just started a couple of weeks ago. So far everything is home cooked and organic… let’s see what we’re up to in six months time. My aim will be that he’s eating what we’re eating and I’m not making anything different for him.
Before - I’m determined to create a baby that sleeps everywhere, so we can continue our travels even when bub is little. I’d love to rent a camper and go on holidays while on mat leave. I also want to continue to be able to see friends and go out for breakfast etc. and bring this baby along wherever we go.
I’m planning to sleep when bub is asleep and I will not get stressed about a messy house! I’ll order groceries online and have a cleaner coming in once a fortnight. Everything will be organised and wonderful.
After - Benji loves going out, and I can quite easily take him with me to meet friends for coffee, picnics, lunch or a walk. He smiles at anyone and will ‘talk’ to anyone who wants to listen. He’s most excited when we do something physical such as kanga training or baby gymnastics. The first few months I could take him anywhere at any time, but now I do plan things around his sleep. If we want to go to the beach for example, I’ll make sure we drive there during nap time, as he always sleeps well in the car. So, not totally flexible, but this guys has seen more places around Sydney than a lot of adults around him.
I didn’t sleep much when he is sleeping, and I couldn’t get myself to pay so much money for a cleaner, so neither of these happened. But overall things are still pretty tidy in our house. I tidy things up during the day, and hubby does it again before he goes to bed (I end up going to be much earlier than he is these days…. So romantic.
Before - I’m planning to still have a shower and get out of my PJ’s everyday.
After - I do have a shower most days. Especially since I bought this shower chair to put Benji in. He loves it, and I love that I can have a shower 😊. There have definitely been days that I didn’t have a shower, or get dressed. Especially during so called 'leaps', there have been days I basically just held him the whole day and looked at him and didn’t do anything else. I got a little frustrated with it at first, but as soon as I accepted that caring for him was the most important to-do-item, I learned to be ok with days I didn’t do anything…
Before - I am determined to continue date nights with hubby and not only talk about bub. In my ideal world, I'd have a date night with hubby once a month. I've got a friend staying with us in Feb, bubs will be 3 months old by then, so I thought it would be a good way to trial it.
After - Yes, we’ve had a few date nights now. We went to a musical, out for dinner and dancing. It felt a bit weird at first, but I did enjoy it a lot too. However I was very happy to be home again, especially the first time. Hubby and I had a couple of evenings out separately from each other too, which was nice. But yeah, admittedly there has been a lot of talking about him on both our date nights, as well as my nights with friends… I wonder if it will ever change, or if this is my new reality now…
You can follow Lisa and Benji here -
Facebook // Instagram // Website
You won't see many photos of them on social media though - so huge thanks to
Laura Marian Photography for these gorgeous images.